Sadistic Intentions Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
Written and directed by Eric Pennycoff
2019, 81 minutes
Frightfest UK Premiere on Friday 23rd August 2019
Jeremy Gardner as Stu
Michael Patrick Nicholson as Kevin
Taylor Zaudtke as Chloe
Larry Fessenden as Father
Name 20 horror movies from the '80s and at least one is likely to embrace metal music. You only have to consider Demons, Hard Rock Zombies, Trick or Treat and Black Roses to realise the music genre's long and natural affinity with horror – the popular culture link between it and Satanism is as harmonious as that between Disney and happily ever afters. In Sadistic Intentions, Eric Pennycoff (ABCs of Death 2.5, segment "M is for Mariachi") thrives off that accord for an eerie 80 minutes of perverse house invasion hell.
As Gardner and Zaudtke awkwardly bond over their starkly opposing personalities as they await their friend’s arrival, Sadistic Intentions is peppered with memorable scenes of genre gold – including a sweet scene scored by Holy Son's I Told You; the kind you'd expect in an indie romance.
The bearded, skull t-shirt-wearing Gardner embodies the metal drifter as convincingly as he does the natural nomad in his zombie apocalypse flick The Battery (2014) and the amusing TV personality survivalist in his found-footage mockumentary Texas Montana Will Survive! (2016), consistently a credit to the indie genre roles he plays. His instinctively amusing disposition and on-screen chemistry with equally likeable Taylor Zaudtke here is fortunate considering such musings make up half the running time.
There’s an effectively unnerving undercurrent to such sentimentality by way of the sinister score, which serves as an ominous warning flag for the night’s perverse turn. Up until this point, Sadistic Intentions is creepy, quirky and holds your intrigue with everything it's got – everything you could ever want from an indie horror such as this one. But as the focus flips to the, err, sadistic intentions of the hosting madman (convincingly played by Nicholson) in the second act, it’s clear the character build up is deserving of a more creative piece at the storyline's centre. It embroils a triangle of misfits in a nightmare that seems to "duck out" in the reveal, not quite playing out with the ingenuity you feel is promised by the stylish, rapid-cut storytelling of its pre-credit opener and the suspenseful, genuine 30 minutes that follows.
But while underwhelming at times, Sadistic Intentions is, for the most part, one hell of a fun and electrifying band practice.
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